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Question about aspect ratio on the PT-50LC13?

685 Views 19 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  AcuraCL
I just got the Panasonic PT-50LC13 and had a question I’m hoping someone here can answer about the aspect ratio.

What aspect ratio mode is unaltered when displaying wide screen formatted content?

When displaying 4:3 formatted content such as direct TV the unaltered mode seems to be normal. This is consistent with the way the user manual says the TV works. However when displaying wide screen formatted content normal mode leaves the black bars on the left and right side of the screen and seems to compress the outputted video. Full mode looks the best but I can’t tell weather that mode is unaltered or not. The guy at the help desk for Panasonic wasn’t any help at all insisting that when using component in the TV only displays what’s on coming into the inputs thus blaming it on the source devices (surprise, surprise). It looks this way both from the Xbox and my Toshiba DVD player.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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What aspect modes do you have available when you are using your DVD player?

Be sure that your DVD player is set to be connected to a wide screen TV (16x9) and not a 4x3 TV.

Are you able to receive HD signals from DirecTV? What aspect modes are available then?

The problem is that all manufacturers don't use the same terminology.

I know the Samsung terminology and normal is what you would use for 4x3 SD TV and old movies on DVD that are also 4x3.

There is a variety of wide material and it's not all the same. If you had a Samsung DLP TV then modern Anamorphic Widesceen movies on DVD would need the TV set to Wide or Wide (TV) depending on the input port you are using. Those movies will have black bars top and bottom if they have an aspect ratio wider than 1.77:1 (16x9). HD TV will fill your screen because it is broadcast in 16x9. If the broadcast is of a movie that is wider than 16x9 then they may include the black bars in the image or cut off the ends of the image.

There are older movies that are Letterbox. For those you need a Zoom mode. On the Samsung Zoom will enlarge the image until it reaches the sides of the screen. If the movie has an aspect ratio greater than 16x9 you will see bars on the top and bottom of your screen.

There is a more complete discussion of black bars at the top of the thread list for this forum and another one that I wrote linked to the bottom of my message.
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Just checked my LC13... FULL mode is what you want for DVD's and other wide screen content. My TV is always set to FULL, 4:3 content is automatically adjusted and has the appropriate black bars on the side. Cable box is set to 720p and 4:3 override OFF. It works much better when you let the TV adjust the 4:3 content. I never have to change the aspect.

The only time my set is on NORMAL is when I'm using the COAX input (if you're using any S-Video or Composite inputs, you might want normal for those also)

Just make sure your DVD & Xbox are set up for a 16x9 display.

P.S. When watching HD content, the only aspect available is FULL.
Thanks for the reply but it really wasn’t what I was looking for.

Sorry I meant to put in my original post that I have placed the DVD player and XBOX in 16:9 mode. Also I have enabled the progressive outputs on both devices.

I do not have HD outputs from Direct TV at this time so the DVD player and XBOX are my only letterbox sources.

I understand that 16:9 is not the aspect ratio used by most movies and that depending on the movie their will be bars along the top and bottom of the screen. These will vary in size from none for made for TV movies like DUNE (the new one) to fairly large at 2.35:1 for movies like Blade Runner.

What I’m trying to determine is what aspect mode on the Panasonic TV gives me a unaltered aspect ratio when viewing widescreen DVD’s. According to the manual the only modes that don’t alter the aspect ratio in some way are normal and zoom. Zoom is really not desirable unless viewing 4:3 content that is letterbox such as Direct TV movies on the SciFi channel and normal puts black bars on the left and right of the screen. Full seems to be the right mode but I’m not sure if I am stretching out the picture and either loosing the original aspect ratio or reducing the quality of the picture.
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Thanks for the info Dexter999.
Originally posted by rhillius
Thanks for the reply but it really wasn?t what I was looking for.
As I said, the terminology is different, but it can be a clue.

You need to determine which mode correctly expands an anamorphic widescreen image. For the Samsung it's Wide or Wide (TV). Based on dexter999's information it's probably Full on the Panasonic. Maybe Panasonic or your dealer can confirm which mode expands anamorphic compression to archive the original aspect ratio.

Dexter999, I am curious why you recommend that you set the cablebox to 720P. Why not set it to 1080i?


Dexter999, I am curious why you recommend that you set the cablebox to 720P. Why not set it to 1080i?
The panny has a native resolution of 1280x720, thus 720p. It will convert 1080i feeds to 720p, so if you have a choice, choose the native resolution of your TV so it doesn't have to convert.

720p is the native resolution of the set. 1080i will work, but the set will convert it to 720p anyway.

Honestly I can't tell a difference at either setting, on any HD channel.

Something has to do the conversion, either the cable box, or the TV. it's really 6 in one, half dozen the other.
Originally posted by dexter999
... it's really 6 in one, half dozen the other.
Well, yeah, but only if each box uses identical hardware and algorithms.

Otherwise, it is likely that one or the other will do a better job.

Personally, I have found that the tv does a better job at 1080i to 720p conversion than my Dish 811. But perhaps your stb is much better.

The difference seemed vague at first, until I finally got a program on that had static diagonal lines. Then the difference was face-slapping. Big-time jaggies when the Dish 811 did the 1080i to 720p conversion. Perfectly smooth when the tv did it.

Sometimes it takes several comparisons over a period of days to really see the diff.
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You are right, one may do a better job at the conversion than the other.

But after watching for a week at 1080i, then another at 720p, I could not tell a difference.

If Comcast would just brodcast some calibration screens at 1080i then maybe I could compare better. But for now, I'll let their cablebox do the work.
This has been very helpful. Thank you.

I will switch to 720P and see if I can tell a difference.

One other thing that I can not get my hands around is when to use svideo vs component vs DVI with this TV and my Pace Time Warner HD cable box.

I currently run off the svideo connection unless I am viewing HD content. For HD content I switch to component. I run svideo so that I can expand the picture to full screen which I can not do with my component connection.

I don't use the DVI connection because there is significant delay when switching channels and I also get a message indicating my device is not HDCP compliant at times which I don't know how to fix as I called Panasonic and they confirmed that the TV is compliant.

Is there an easier way? Is there anyway to get full screen to work via the component connection for standard broadcasts?

Has anyone else received an HDCP error on the DVI connection and found a fix for it?


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I use the coax connection (bypassing the cable box with a splitter) when I want to mess with the aspects of SD.. The analog picture looks much better that way. Also, split screen works a little better (both pictures are bigger) and you can take advantage of the dual tuner. It's nice for watching the Red Sox when my girlfriend needs to watch her shows.

Other than that, I use component for everything else. I can't stand stretching 4:3 pictures, so I don't usually need to change the aspects.

The reason you can't stretch the image on SD via component isn't the connection you're using, it's the signal being received. When your box is set to 720p, SD is being upconverted to 720p, so the TV treats it like HD and won't let you change aspects (tune to a SD channel, go into the menu, then hit information, you'll see). Setting your Cable box to 480i will let you change aspects with component connections, or just do what you're doing and use svideo.

I just use the DVI port for my PC.
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Great idea. I was considering doing that anyway to get picture in picture so that will kill two birds with one stone.

btw.. I am not crazy about stretching either, but my fiance can't stand the black bars so I go with the flow.

Thanks again,

So I changed Component 3 (the XBOX) to Full (I guess it had been on Normal). The set is definitely stretching the picture, as on Normal there were right/left black bars and now the pic fills the screen.

I'm not sure I like this. I almost never stretch any content.

Think I'll go back to Normal, even if it is smaller ... it's sharp and not at all distorted.

I'm just not sure I get what this "full" is ....
Thanks for everyone’s response.

AcuraCL, Did you set your xbox to 16:9 aspect ratio? Alsmost all the games I have can be formated in widescreen.

I got finally got my copy of Digital Video Essentials last night which includes geometry patterns for both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios. From my observations Full is definitely the mode to view widescreen content in if you don’t want it altered.

Normal always displays the image in a 4:3 aspect ratio regardless of the input. If it’s 16:9 material then it’s squeezed together to fit.

Full always displays the image in a 16:9 aspect ratio. If it’s 4:3 material then it’s stretched to fit. Stuff that’s higher the 16:9 like 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 has black bars top and bottom.

While it’s a little annoying that normal doesn’t display the image as it’s coming from the source regardless of the aspect ratio this is not a huge issue and more a documentation issue in the manual then a technical issue.

I’m quickly coming to the point where I need to decide if I’m keeping this set or exchanging it for something different. The two things that bother me the most about this set is not being able to label or turn off all the inputs and the red push.

I played with the color adjustments for awhile last night trying to get rid of the red push or at least minimize it to a point where face color doesn’t drive me crazy. I thought that the section in DVE that talks about this and color temperature including why manufactures do this was very well done and informative.
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Rhillius, I'm 99% sure I set the XBOX to 16:9. I checked HDTVarcade which says that Halo is not 16:9, so I would think it /should/ display in a 4:3 window. And in "Full" mode the content is definitely stretched ... it has that squatty "fat" look.

Tell me about this "red push." I keep hearing people mention it but I wonder if they see it bec. there is so much chatter about it .... I find color dead on with this set, and haven't budged any settings (other than brightness/contrast) on the DVI input. Are you using DVI or component for your main viewing?
Seem’s weird that what is considered the premier game for the XBOX isn’t in HDTV but given that it’s Microsoft I guess I’m not surprised. I know that Morrowind GOTY version and Baldur’s Gate II are both widescreen.

I don't currently have any devices with DVI inputs so am using component and S-Video for everything.

I’m by no means an expert on video but will try to answer the question the best I can. If you output color bars on your Television you will probably notice that the red box is a little higher in intensity then the rest of the colors. If you look at these though a red, green, and blue filter you can see that red is pushed higher in level then the green or blue. According to Digital Video Essentials (DVE) this was done a long time ago to compensate somewhat for poor decoder designs and somewhat to add uniqueness or punch to TV’s on show room floors to draw your eye to them. Using the default settings of my Panasonic and setting the modes to Normal/Normal I see a slight reddish tint to the picture especially face tones. How much of this is really noticeable and how much is because of what I have read is an open question. I’m willing to concede that maybe I’m finding what I’m looking for and seeing more then is really there.

The weird thing is that I don’t notice any red in the grey scale. Since in a RGB display device grey is nothing more then equal amounts of Red, Green, and Blue if Red was higher in intensity then any other color one would think that all greys would have a red tint to them. Maybe someone more technical then I can answer why that is.

Hope this helps
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I'm not sure about X-box.. but I know on a PS2, I have to set the console to 16:9. Then any games that support it (like Vice City) also need to be set to 16:9. It then displays an undistorted image in "Full" mode. Otherwise it does stretch the image.
Originally posted by dexter999
I'm not sure about X-box.. but I know on a PS2, I have to set the console to 16:9. Then any games that support it (like Vice City) also need to be set to 16:9. It then displays an undistorted image in "Full" mode. Otherwise it does stretch the image.
Hmmm, interesting. I'll double-check to see if both items need to be set in XBOX. It's been a while since I looked ....
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